Tippins Pie

Based on the recent rise in demand for signature specials in the bakery department, a growing number of instore bakeries are promoting unique products that target everything from the indulgent side of snacking to the freshness of baked bread right out of the oven.

At Dierbergs, a 25-store chain in Missouri, the supermarket offers exclusive bakery items that include Tippin’s pies, Greg’s Crazy Good Cookies, My Daddy’s Cheesecake and Kenzie’s Gooey Butter Kakes and Kupcakes.

Greg’s Crazy Good Cookies come in new flavors like Snickerdoodle and Crispy Kitchen Sink, which include an assortment of ingredients like raisins and nuts. The chain touts these cookies as “the ooiest, gooiest, moistest, most awesome cookies ever!”

Other signature items at Dierbergs include Cape Girardeau, Missouri-based My Daddy’s Cheesecakes, which are rich desserts made by hand from premium ingredients, and Kenzie’s Gooey Butter Kakes and Kupcakes, which are inspired by Greg Dierbergs’ daughter McKenzie and her love of cupcakes.

Tippin’s pies are exclusive in the St. Louis market to Dierbergs, and are available at stores including Hen House Markets in Kansas City. Tippin’s pies have become a household name regionally, and according to Tippin’s, retail partners enjoy pie distributions in their bakeries of 9 percent to 30 percent, compared to the national average under 6 percent.

Killer Brownies

Touting the indulgence factor is a key component of merchandising signature specials in the bakery department. Just ask Dorothy Lane Market, which has propelled its Killer Brownie to widespread acclaim.

Killer Brownies are now available in more than 10 indulgent flavors, such as peanut butter or cream cheese. The product is so notable that it even has its own website.

The sweet treat from Dayton, Ohio, made it to the finals of this year’s Munch Madness national online voting competition to select America’s favorite regional eats, put on by Goldbely.

To add to the Killer Brownie excitement, Dorothy Lane Market offered a special promotion on the Killer Brownie through the voting finals on Monday, April 6. Shoppers were encouraged to vote for the Killer Brownie online and then, walk up to the bakery counter at any of the three Dorothy Lane Market stores to receive a $1 coupon off any Killer Brownie flavor.

Back to Scratch

In other parts of the country, supermarket bakeries are looking at creative ways to tout the specialness and wholesomeness of their breads.

Costco, for example, is going “back to where it all started in the bakery” with the launch of a new from-scratch bread program. “We’re rebranding ourselves in the bread category with exciting new and delicious breads,” says David Richman, assistant general merchandise manager of Costco Bakery.

Previously, Costco had used a par-baked program in which bread, instead of being completely baked by the supplier, was removed from ovens and finished in Costco bakeries. Now, Costco has developed a program where handcrafted scratch bread is baked in deck ovens on a hearthstone at Costco locations. The program currently is in operation in five Costco warehouses: Pentagon City and Sterling, Virginia; Issaquah and Kirkland, Washington; and Livermore, California.

Costco reported the hearthstone bakeries could not be duplicated at all warehouse locations, but the company’s development team determined the scratch bread could be baked successfully in the convection ovens already used in Costco bakeries.

According to The Costco Connection, Costco recently introduced its new scratch program with country French, cranberry walnut and honey multigrain boules — round loaves. Raisin walnut boules are being rotated into the assortment in place of the cranberry walnut variety, Costco said, and different flavored batards are expected in the future.

“(The use of) quality ingredients mixed from scratch is a value for the member, and it creates our own signature,” Richman says. “This scratch bread program differentiates us from our competition.”

In addition to fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, Costco said it relies on two special ingredients during the production process: time and temperature.

“Time and temperature are treated as ingredients for the quality of the bread,” says Mike Cruz, assistant vice-president/general merchandise manager of service deli/fresh food research and development. “If either one of them gets compromised, it gives you a different product.”

Costco currently operates 672 warehouses, including 474 in the United States and Puerto Rico.